The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Community looks forward to better livelihood under Abg Johari
MIRI: The Berawan community in Long Terawan and Mulu looks forward to exciting prospects of digital economy and the rollout of big infrastructure upgrading projects at Mulu mini-township which will bring about socioeconomic development there.
They gave the thumbs-up for this transformation to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who surprised them with an unexpected visit last weekend to declare open the Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (SRBN) at Long Terawan village and meetthe-people session in Mulu on April 6-7.
Staying overnight in Mulu, Abang Johari approved their list of requests for infrastructure, a RM400,000 gallery, Mulu mini township, repair of Long Terawan access road through Long Atip, ‘Likoh Mayau’ tapah fish spawning site conservation and native land survey under Section 6 and Section 18 of the Land Code, which would augur well for the wellbeing of the community living downriver of the Unesco world natural heritage site of Mulu National Park.
Councillor Garry Hassim Wan from Long Terawan in an interview with The Borneo Post said the inclusive and gamechanging rural development approach of the chief minister was already benefitting the local community.
“A local is already using the broadband application in the jungle to ask his people back in the longhouse to pick up a wild boar he had trapped, while fish are now sold at a click of the button as it is now marketed in real time while the fisherman is still in the river,” he said with much enthusiasm.
Sarawak Berawan Association president Datin Catherine Awing Wan concurred, saying villagers are now selling their jungle and farm produce via WhatsApp to those as far as Miri City, which augurs well for the fledgling rural digital economy.
On the gallery, Catherine and Penghulu Herbert Lawai Epoi said it will showcase and preserve the artefacts of the Berawan ethnic community, who are rich in cultural heritage, and to serve as a tourist attraction.
Catherine pointed out the convergence of broadband coverage and round-the-clock electricity under Sarawak Alternative Rural Electricity Supply has empowered the community and boosts learning among students beyond the confines of their rural villages in Sungai Tutoh.
“We are really thankful for the Chief Minister’s prompt approval and Deputy State Legislative Assembly Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala for spearheading these affirmative steps for us in Tutoh, including a good road to be built by Highland Development Agency all the way from Marudi to Long Terawan and Mulu which will boost tourism and the rural economy,” Garry said.
Besides the big ticket projects that will be implemented, Abang Johari had also approved RM500,000 for the repair of Long Bedian-Long Terawan road and RM400,000 for upgrading the gravity-fed water supply system pending the implementation of a RM10-million rural water supply project in Mulu.
At the dinner with community leaders in Mulu on April 6, the chief minister also approved the gazetting of Kampong Sungai Melinau Mulu and funds to build another 40 houses for the Penan community at Batu Bungan.
Garry attributed the transformation in Mulu to their assemblyman Gerawat, who had been the driving force and called on the people in the constituency to continue supporting the latter and the GPS state government to bring Mulu to greater heights.